Remember Me (Defiant MC)

By: Cora Brent

(A Defiant MC Novel)


Contention City, Arizona Territory


In the end there was only a grave.

The stone was small and modest with a temporary look about it. There wouldn’t be another one. The year of death was crudely chiseled. And underneath that, a one word epitaph: Brother.

The man at her side was impatient. The body which had been deposited into the freshly dug hole meant little to him. Annika knew what an effort it was for him to allow her a few moments as she knelt in the dirt. She glanced up and the man’s eyes met hers for a second and then quickly shifted in the direction of the unseen mine. He was only beside her at all because he had a promise to keep. Her grief was not something which interested him.

As Annika stood, the black crape which had been sewn onto her mourning dress fluttered in the dusty breeze. Two days earlier the dress had been a pale yellow. Lucia de Campo had assisted with the dyeing so Annika would have something appropriate to wear. There was no getting away from the awful smell of the dye. Annika could not breathe without feeling immersed in it as she was immersed in death.

“We should be getting on,” the man said with a perceptible accent. He still faced away, towards the direction of the Scorpion Mine and idly rubbed the shoulder where he had taken a bullet a week earlier.

Annika did not answer. Instead she looked at the mountains, a small range which would have been an unremarkable and overlooked portion of the Territory. However, some twenty years earlier a weary man scouting for signs of gold had paused there. He had spotted a curious rock outcropping and made it his business to reach it. Thus, the secrets held by the humble range were discovered.


A blessing. A curse. Annika hated the word.

The mountains stared innocently back at her as if they had nothing whatsoever to do with the awful things done by men. She uttered an obscenity. She hadn’t realized she’d spoke aloud until the man stared at her in surprise.

It was unfair to blame the mountains. Or the trees. Or the sky. Men would do as they would anyway. If the reason wasn’t gold there would be another. Annika knew she was not without fault either. But this time no one would have the thing which had been the cause of so much blood. She had seen to that. It was hidden and would stay hidden, perhaps forever.

The man waited as she limped toward the place where he waited with the horses. Her ankle still troubled her but it was a small matter. He helped her into the saddle of the gentle bay and she took the reins.

As Annika followed him out of the brush she glanced back once. The place was lonely, a sad final resting spot for those who did not have means for a more proper arrangement. Contention City had claimed a lot of victims. It would claim more.

She had written a final letter to her people in the east. She did not know when she would be able to write another one. As she mutely guided the horse in a purposely circuitous route around the prying eyes of Contention City, Annika tore the ugly black crape overlay from her dress and tossed it in the direction of a cluster of desert cat’s claw. She discarded the long veil as well. Let other women devote the precious years of their lives to these mourning conventions. Annika had something else to cling to.

God help her, it had never been easy with him. But he was in her blood in a way no other man ever would be. She could not think of him without remembering the feel of his body and the fury it had roused in hers. Annika could not separate who he was from the lust of his touch. She didn’t want to. She leaned forward into the horse’s black mane and tried to settle her mind.

The man slowly riding the horse in front of her knew nothing of her thoughts. He was only quietly fulfilling an obligation.

“We’ll pause at midday, not before,” he tossed back curtly.

“As you say,” Annika answered. She searched the sky. It would be hours before the sun reached its height. Yet it did not matter to her. Nothing but being in his arms again would quell the profound longing in her soul.

Annika sat tall in the saddle, for once unbothered by the discomfort of her corset. She would ride under this blazing sun forever if it meant a chance to be reunited with him.

In this world or another one.


Phoenix, Arizona

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